This week we begin with heartfelt wishes of mazel tov to our very near and dear friends Rochelle and Dr. Moishe Jeger who earlier this week married off their youngest daughter, Faigy, to Dovid Eisner. The Oisvorfer has known the kallah since birth mamish and for many, many years was a ben bayis (hosted by) in the Jeger home where he enjoyed many good shabbis and Yom tov meals that Rochelle prepared. He is forever grateful. May Faigy and Dovid enjoy many, many decades of blissful marriage. Mazel tov as well to the chososn’s family, Mati and Jake Eisner and to all extended families.
Raboyseyee and Raboyseyettes:
You are what you eat-
Earlier this week, the Oisvorfer woke up to some eye irritation. That was Monday. By Wednesday the swelling above the right eye was in full bloom causing some measurable discomfort and speculation as to its cause. Though not diagnosed, it was decided that an insect bite, mistama from a spider, just above the right eyelid, was the root cause of the swelling. How a spider crawled into the bed, ver veyst. One thing is zicher: no one else crawled in. Today Thursday, the eye remains swollen, ober the heylige Toirah review must be written and disseminated. All this spider talk got the ruv thinking about spiders and what role they play in life. Are they needed? And believe it or not, there’s a Medrish on this week’s parsha mamish, where insects are discussed (later in the parsha) that tells the following spider myseh (story)
Says the Medrish (Humanism in Talmud and Midrash) azoy:
Dovid Hamelech asked the RBSO why He created spiders, for ‘they are such ugly and useless creatures’. Answered the RBSO azoy: ‘be patient, a day will come when you’ll want to kiss one’. Sometime later the good king was forced to hide in a cave as the other good king, ShaulHamelech (Saul) wanted to kill him. As Shaul’s search party approached the cave, the RBSO sent a spider which spun a big web across its entrance. When Shaul saw the unbroken web he surmised that no one had entered there and continued his search elsewhere. Dovid was spared. When Dovid realized what had transpired, he found the spider and gave it a grateful kiss! He also blessed the RBSO who was seemingly teaching Dovid that although it may not be obvious why each creature was created; they in fact all exist to serve a purpose. Incidentally, those that read the Novee (Shmuel 1) will efsher recall that Dovid took refuge in caves on more than one occasion.And the lesson to the Oisvorfer, ver veyst?
Shoin! With less than 30 days to go, the Pesach countdown is well underway. Though we made all sorts of promises, mostly to ourselves, to control our food intake so that we would fit into our Peasch outfits and look somewhat decent as we celebrate our freedom from Mitzrayim and slavery by sitting around the pool, the hot-tub and checking out the local talent, if you chap, guess what? Purim came along and like chazerim mamish, there we were stuffing our faces as if we were attending one of the many feasts Achashveyroish threw back in Shushan. And taka why did we behave like chazerim? Because we have no control! And the bottom line? The smorgasbord, like your yetzer horo for other forbidden zachen is ever so powerful. Rarely is he beaten. Many good people have walked away from business deals and even from relationships; no man has ever walked away from a good shmorg and no man, has ever won the battle of the shmorg. Givlad!
Let’s learn some parsha which features Moishe being fired, two deaths, all about kosher and a few other interesting topics; let’s begin near the end of the parsha. Says the heylige Toirah (Vayikro11:1-4; 7-8) azoy:”Tell the people of Israel, ‘These are the living creatures which you may eat among all the land animals: any that has a separate hoof which is completely divided and chews the cud – these animals you may eat. But you are not to eat those that only chew the cud or only have a separate hoof…the pig is unclean for you, because, although it has a separate and completely divided hoof, it doesn’t chew the cud. You are not to eat meat from these or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you. Seemingly, the entire kosher gisheft started here in Shmini with but a few sentences about animals, fish and birds. But is that true? Not exactly because way back in Sefer Shmois (34:26), we learned “you shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk.” Milk and meat need to be separated ober that was but the first layer of kosher. The real meat of kosher laws, the meat of animals, fish and birds, is found right here in Shmini. Lommerlernin.And the bottom line? Not all meat is kosher for consumption, if you chap and some cannot even be touched, also if you chap.
A long time ago….the RBSO was efsher thinking to Himself azoy………….what’s the most difficult restriction I can put on My chosen people? How will they be distinguished from the rest of the nations? And……how can I combine this one restriction with perhaps the biggest of business opportunities, one that will forever -no matter how much technology advances- employ tens of thousands of Yiddin, even charedim? Even charedim? Yes! He is the RBSO and this week, mamish right here in ParshasShmini which we will have the pleasure of hearing on Shabbis koidesh, the RBSO delivered the big one. Eating and keeping kosher!! Indeed all the kosher laws on the official books can be found in not too many sentences. Of course, since the heylige Toirah was given over 3300 years ago, these laws have been greatly expanded so that others could also make a living and today, kosher is an industry that is worth billions in revenue yearly. That’s billions with a ‘b’.
Kosher is big business, it’s mistama the biggest of all the industries the RBSO created for the Yiddin to enjoy and make a living from. and even within kosher, there is regular kosher, glatt kosher, kosher but dairy, kosher and pareve, kosher and also for Pesach and myriad organizations bilking…err, we meant earning millions making sure that all is kosher. Mamish tens of thousands of Yiddin all over the world are involved -directly and not- in the kosher food business. It’s so big that in recent years, even the goyim decided to enter this marketplace and today kosher signs come in so many sizes, shapes, colors and varieties, one mamish needs to make a concerted effort to eat non-kosher.Some taka do just that.
But first…did the RBSO tell us why He wanted us to eat kosher? Did He tell us why certain fish and other insects were not kosher? No! Instead He just barked out the instructions and left it upto the good rabbis, sages and others to put on the spin. And why would the RBSO care what we ate for breakfast, lunch or dinner? Would it be so girferlich if we ate some bacon in the morning, a cheeseburger or non-kosher pizza for lunch? Maybe even a shtikel ham? Ober Raboyseyee, efsher we can kler azoy: The kosher laws were given by the same RBSO who has placed other boundaries around our behavior in every other area of life and esfarshteytzich (stands to reason) that if we accept His authority, although we do act out from time to time, He has also the authority to place boundaries around our diets. Shoinerleydigt (settled)! Moreover, if we acknowledge that He has the authority to regulate our sexual inclinations and appetites, though there too, we avada don’t always follow the rules, if you chap, we must also recognize that He has the authority to regulate our stomachs.Shoin and case closed.
Though many mitzvois in our special tradition encourage the exercise of human intelligence in the worthy attempt to chap the profundity of the RBSO’s laws, none of them make one’s observance of the laws conditional upon one’s understandingof them. The heylige Toirah lays out the framework for the original “you are what you eat” manifesto, aka: eating and keeping kosher and ad hayoimhazeh (until today), keeping kosher or eating kosher remains a shtikel mysterious. Why? Because these laws are part of the chukim, laws given to us, the RBSO’s chosen people, without any rational reasoning as to why we should follow them. Keeping kosher defies logical reason.In other words: we are to keep kosher! Why, is none of your business! Mistama the RBSO had good reason and one day, hopefully not too soon, you can ask Him directly.
Ober after giving this topic more thought, the Oisvorfer has concluded that the RBSO, as He always does, had a plan. And what was the plan? The plan was that by dictating kosher laws, not just would He create jobs and business opportunities that included manufacturing, distribution, slaughtering, kosher food expos, eateries, mashgichim(supervisors), chasiddishe truck drivers with big key chains, and many more to pick from, but the plan went deeper. The RBSO chapped that His Yiddin need to spend time together and away from the goyim who could possibly influence them towards avoidozoro and other avayrois. He didn’t want us eating out in restaurants where one can be seated near a hot shiksa model. Yiddin needed to meet and see each other regularly. So- for the men, He gave us shul where men are supposed to meet daily, say a few words out of the siddur, schmooz, bad mouth a few people, tell or listen to a few jokes, gossip and on shabbisand other occasions, to also make a le’chaim, plan and plot your own breakaway minyan and more. Shul is fun Ober what about the veyber, the women? Nu, for the women He created the kosher destination. Indeed because we all eat kosher, we tend to shop at the kosher supermarkets and there, while moving the veygila (shopping cart) up and downthe aisles, the women, accompaniedrarely by their men, get to schmooz with one another, gossip and catch up on all the local loshoin horo, fashion and of course bad mouth a few people. And it’s taka emes: Yiddin meet each other at the local kosher bakery; they shop at the same grocery and patronize kosher butchers and restaurants. Seemingly, these laws are a major force in maintaining Jewish unity and act as a social barrier against assimilation by creating a feeling of community among the Yiddin. Gishmak.
Moreover, one of the effects of the dietary laws, ismamish alluded to in this week’s parsha. Says theheylige Toirah (Vayikro 20:25-26): “You shall distinguish between the clean animal and the unclean and between the clean bird and the unclean… You shall be holy for Me, for I, G-d, am Holy; and I have separated you from the peoples to be Mine”.Says the OhrHachaim azoy: These pisukim (verses) suggest that there is a link between observing the laws of kashrus and maintaining our identity as a distinct, unique people among the nations of the world. Gishmak and shabbis tish worthy.And the bottom line: keeping kosher and kosher in general, has contributed very significantly to our survival as a distinct nation. Yiddin all over the world have common dietary patterns. We are what we eat.
Nu, let’s now go back to the very beginning of ParshasShimini ( eighth) which begins with these words: VayiheByoimHashmini (and it was on the eighth day). The words are ominous and our rabbis concluded, for reasons we will chap just below, that the word Vayihe, more typically than not, portends danger. Bad things are about to happen. Nu, if you think back to your own eighth day, avada you can relate ober what happened in this week’s parsha that was so giferlich?
Seemingly, way back in parshasShemois, Moishe committed a giferliche sin and this week, the RBSO, will take him to task and punish him by stripping him of the kahuna. Moishe was a koihen? Indeed he was!
Seemingly the eighth day followed the seven days during which Moishe was the acting Koihen, efsher auditioning for the job. He also erected and dismantled the Mishkan daily during that period. Ober on this eight day, he was stripped of his priestly duties and Aharoin his older brother, was appointed as the first ever koihengodol (big Kihuna). Nice reward! Is that logical? Wasn’t Aharoin the fine gentlemen that collected the gold and then threw the gold into the fire from which the EgyelHazohov (golden calf) emerged? And if Moishe was stripped of his duties for a sin we will hear about in a few sentences mamish, how was it that Aharoin, who was involved in the meyseh that defined the Yiddin for generations – some say until today- have been rewarded by being appointed the big Kihuna? What’s pshat? And taka says Rashi, quoting the heylige medrish azoy: “When Aharoin saw that all the sacrifices were offered and all the rituals were performed, yet the Shechinah ([Divine Presence) did not descend upon the Yiddin, he was distressed. He said, ‘I know that the RBSO is angry with me and because of me, the Shechinah did not descend upon the Yiddin.'” Moshe tried to tell Aharoin this was not the case, but Aharoin remained distressed.
One would think that if Moishe was replaced by his brother who mamish built the Eygel, that he Moishe must have really done a big no-no to be so unceremoniously dumped from his job but after seven days. And efsher you’re taka wondering what terrible crime could Moishe have committed? Doesn’t the only real ugly incident, the one where Moishe used his shtekin (staff) instead of his mouth, the one that cost Moishe his visa into the holy land, come only later in the Mibdar journey? It does, it’s still weeks away. Did Moishe commit a more serious crime? Is it covered in the heylige Toirah? Seemingly, using the shtekin instead of the mouth, has gotten people into much trouble over the years, if you chap. Ober when you hear what he did and how seemingly angry the RBSO was and how the RBSO never forgot that Moishe sinned, it should send shivers down your spine. Because it appears that the RBSO does not forget and that your sins are mamish piling up on your liability ledger. Moreover it appears that the RBSO has a long memory and that is certainly not good news for those that believe He is elsewhere occupied watching the charedim demonstrate against the very land they live in and the government that feeds them. And taka while the RBSO is quite busy, efsher making shiduchim ver veyst, He indeed does have a long and solid memory.
What was Moishe’s grave sin? Did he marry yet another shiksa; two weren’t enough? Nu, it goes all the way back to ParshasShemois and to the mayseh (incident) where the RBSO asked Moishe to go take the Yiddin out of Mitzrayim. Said Moishe to the RBSO (Shemois 4:13): “No! Send whomever you will send.” Is that the way to talk to the RBSO? Did Moishe think he was talking to his eishes chayil (wife) at the time? Seemingly, the RBSO took note of this shtikel incident and said to Himself that one day…..He’ll remember this. Avada now many can chap why many meforshim state that the RBSO has male and female characteristics: remembering every detail of everyone’s chatoim (sins) is zicher a character trait the RBSO gave to women. In fact, the Oisvorfer’s own eishes chayil can, in any disagreement, instantly recall anything and everything the Ruv did wrong in the past 26 years. Nu, considering how many misdeeds there have been, that’s a pretty remarkable trait and talent. Vey is mir! Ober she is not alone; seemingly the RBSO gave this very gift to many women!
And the bottom line: Moishe was indeed the acting KoihainGodol (High Priest) and es- far- shtaytzich (stands to reason) that Moishe assumed that he would continue in that role. Ober said the RBSO in the first few pisukim of Shimini: “Aharoin and his sons will be the ones to serve as Koihanim. You will remain outside; you have no portion in the Kihuna.” Shoin: Moishe fired, Aharoin and his kinderlach hired. Unfortunately for Aharoin, this happiest of days was also to be his saddest as two of his four children were killed that very same day; yet another sad occurrence on the ‘eighth day’. Seemingly Aharoin’s past also came back to haunt him. And as you can see, the RBSO does not forget. Raboyseyee: let’s keep that in mind.
A gitten Shabbis
The Oisvorfer Ruv